Mesa votes to keep Cubs
Proposition 420 was overwhelmingly approved by Mesa, Ariz. voters last week and this paves the way for the city to build a new spring training complex for the Chicago Cubs. Sixty-three percent of the voters approved the measure and this ends a several-months struggle to keep the team in town for the Grapefruit League. The complex is expected to cost $84 million and it should open in 2013.
Most of the funding will come from an increase in the hotel tax from 2 percent to 5 percent. There’s also a privately funded “Wrigleyville West” development that’s expected to be build nearby as well.
Birmingham beats out Hoover for Barons
For the past 20 years the Birmingham Barons haven’t been playing in the city proper they’ve been playing in the nearby suberb of Hoover. Last week, the mayor of Birmingham, William Bell, and the Barons owner, Don Logan, reached an agreement that will bring the Barons home to a new downtown Birmingham stadium.
For now, the Barons will continue to play in Hoover while the new stadium is being built. I haven’t found any cost estimates or an expected opening but Hoover has to be upset because they just spent a sizeable chunk of change ($6.5 million) renovating Hoover Regions Park back in 2007.
Former Portland minor league team to play in Tuscon
It’s now official that the San Diego Padres Triple-A affiliate will be playing in Tuscon, Ariz. in 2011. The Portland Beavers had to vacate their old stadium because it was being turned into a soccer-specific facility and while the San Diego Padres eventually hope to move the team closer to home, they have a “ready to play” ball park in Tuscon to take advantage of.
There’s also a chance the team could find itself in Tuscon beyond the 2011 season. The plan is to build a ballpark for the franchise in Escondido, Calif. but there’s a critical city council vote at the end of November that should determine the fate of the team’s stadium. If the measure doesn’t pass, then the team’s future is a little more cloudy and we could see baseball in Tuscon in 2012 and beyond.
Venezuelan scout looks to former Rangers owner for $1.4 million
Roney Calderon claims that he scouted for the Texas Rangers between 1994 and 2001 and when he was let go, Calderon filed a lawsuit in the Venezuelan Labor Court and received a $183,534 judgement from the Rangers. He claims he received most of the payments but according to this story, he’s looking for upwards of $1.4 million from the former owners of the Rangers because of how much the Venezuelan currency has depreciated.
Texas Rangers Baseball Partners, the former owner of the Rangers, called the claim baseless. Now it’ll probably be up to the bankruptcy court to decide whether the claim has merit or not.
Billings Mustangs, New Hampshire Fisher Cats win minor league awards
Earlier this week, two prestigious awards were given out to minor league teams. The Billings Mustangs won the President’s Award, which is given to honor the complete baseball franchise. Franchise stability, contributions to baseball within the community and promotion of the baseball industry are all taken into account when giving out the award.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats were given the Larry MacPhail award, which is given to the team that gave the best promotion effort in Minor League Baseball. The Fisher Cats did this by providing fans with upwards of 35 promotions every game. They held 40 theme events, 27 premium giveaways and 25 fireworks shows to help provide a little bit extra to their fans.